July 7, 2009

29th ID Special Troops Battalion receives its colors

Courtesy 29th Infantry Division Public Affairs

FORT BELVOIR, Va. — It is not uncommon for a unit’s special troops battalion to carry its own flag – especially when it comes from a unit with a long history of milestones and significance like the 29th Infantry Division of the Virginia Army National Guard, recognized for World War II’s infamous D-Day and Hollywood’s “Saving Private Ryan.”

  29th ID STB gets new colors

Maj. Dan Curry, director of operations for the 29th Infantry Division's Special Troops Battalion proudly unfurls the new official 29th ID STB flag during the unit’s drill weekend June 2009. (Courtesy of 29th ID Public Affairs Office)

Adding to the history of the “Blue and Gray,” the 29th Infantry Division STB recently received its current official battalion flag, known as the “Battalion Colors.”  The colors originated as a means of battlefield identification, but have now come to symbolize the proud traditions and rich heritage of the Army and the units they represent.

The battalion colors for the 29th STB were officially authorized by the U. S. Institute of Heraldry in October 2008.

Teal blue and yellow, colors traditionally associated with support organizations, are the primary colors of the flag. The unit coat of arms is beautifully embroidered and consists of a shield with three chevrons of Azure or “Old Glory Blue,” with a splendorous eagle is perched on a wagon wheel. Taken from the seal of the Commonwealth of Virginia, Virtus, the genius of the Commonwealth, is dressed as an Amazon. She is seen resting on a spear with one hand and holding a sword in the other; and treading on a prostrating man. This man, Tyranny, displays a crown falling from his head, a broken chain in his left hand, and a scourge in his right.  The scroll appropriately highlights in fine embroidery the battalion's motto, "Support and Protect."

The symbolism of the crest points to the battalion’s support to the 29th ID. The 29th ID is nicknamed the “Blue and Gray” as its lineage goes back to when it was composed of units from states that fought on both sides of the American Civil War. The eagle, symbol of strength and vigilance, and the wagon wheel were adapted from the Quartermaster branch insignia and they emphasize the logistics role of the battalion. The three chevrons highlight the three major missions of the STB: support functions (medical, transportation, maintenance and food service), communications/signal support, and security.  They are interlaced to represent cooperation and teamwork.  The chevrons also emphasize the importance of the non-commissioned officer. The STB motto, “Support and Protect,” embody its mission and the strength of the Soldiers that make up the Battalion.

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